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I have no idea where this story came from, but enjoyed writing it. Without a censor I just allowed the words to flow, surreal as they may be!


A Happy Kind of Pain

I saw a mermaid once. She showed herself to me on Strandhill Strand. She had not meant to be seen and flinched on meeting my startled gaze. Pupil to pupil we looked, searched for meaning in each other’s inky pools. Those few seconds changed everything.

When I told my mother she laughed, the sound a smear on my soul.

“It’ll be goblins and wizards next.”

When I pointed out that she believed in fairies, her hand went out. My cheek still stings when I think about it.

Around me the wind rises, lifts and drops my dress in a tease.

“I know what you want.”

Its answer is a swirl that pulls at my hair.

Down the beach a gull calls. Its cry a raucous shriek of discontent. Another chimes in as they struggle, pull at a discarded crust in a back and forth of beaks and eyes. I will the smaller one to win.

At my feet the sea churns. A battle of froth, its licks are the colour of the underbelly of the giant it holds.

Cold paws at my toes. Each lap a whisper.

In the distance there are shadows. Bodies waiting in the depths; for the tide, for the night, for me.

The chill rises, creeps up in a watery vine. Pins and needles run up and down my legs. It’s a happy kind of pain.

I take a step. Underfoot the stones rattle talking in a language I can’t understand.

At my back the wind plays, strokes like hands in a push. We both know its time.

I hope my mermaid is waiting.